Tony winner Neuwirth — THURSDAY, Dec. 24, 2009 — Suffolk female / One in the charge of un instituteur / Like vicunas
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Constructor: Nancy Salomon
Relative Difficulty: Easy-Medium
Theme: 'Twas the Night Before Christmas — The letter string EVE is crammed into nine boxes of this Christmas Eve puzzle. It's like nine little Christmas presents!
Word of the Day: PAREVE (47D: Made without milk or meat)
Kosher foods are divided into three categories: meat, dairy and pareve. One of the basic principles of kashrut is the total separation of meat and dairy products. Meat and dairy may not be cooked or eaten together. To ensure this, the kosher kitchen contains separate sets of dishes, utensils, cookware, and separate preparation areas for meat and dairy. A third category, pareve, is comprised of foods which are neither meat nor dairy and may therefore be eaten with either. ...
Pareve food can generally be served with either meat or dairy meals. Some kitchens have serving and mixing bowls, pots, and knives used exclusively for pareve food. If a pareve food ... is cooked or mixed together with any meat or dairy products it becomes respectively either meat or dairy and all laws pertaining to meat and dairy apply, including the required waiting times.
Hi, everybody. It's PuzzleGirl! I'm so happy to be spending part of the holidays here with you all. Did you have a nice Festivus? Air any interesting grievances? Observe any feats of strength worth mentioning? I'm not going to take up a lot of your time today because you probably have plans for the rest of the day that don't allow you to sit in front of your computer for hours on end. Here at the PuzzleHouse we will probably be baking a lot of cookies. I will also need to make at least one trip to the grocery store, which I'm sure is going to be calm and relaxing. Then after dinner we'll open some presents and by tomorrow we'll be bored. Of course I'm kidding. The PuzzleParents will actually be joining us Friday night for the rest of the week and PuzzleHusband and I will be traveling to Chicago for a few days. Yes, I know traveling to Chicago in December isn't a great idea. What can I say? We're not very smart.
What? There's a puzzle? Okay, let's talk about the puzzle. I love a rebus! I really do! Thursdays are pretty much the only day we see them and every Thursday that we don't get one, I have to admit I'm a little disappointed. But not today. The reason I rated this puzzle Easy-Medium is that I solved it quite a bit quicker than my typical Thursday time. But I also wanted to account for the fact that the rebus might have slowed people down. It usually slows me down, but for some reason I caught onto this one right away. I'm all "Cavaliers? Well, they're in Cleveland. Oh it must be some college Cavaliers...." But then when I had a few of the crosses in place, and thought about what day it is, the rebus became obvious. Like I said, totally atypical for me to grok a rebus that quickly, so that's why I added the "medium."
There was also quite a bit of what I think of as Bob Klahn cluing. That is, a clue showing up in more than one place or a couple of clues that are similar. For example:
- 25A: Monopoly token (HAT).
- 54A: Monopoly token (SHOE)
- 2D: Plains Indian (OTOE)
- 36A: Dakota Indian (REE)
- 49A: Ho-hum (BLASÉ)
- 49D: Feeling ho-hum (BORED)
- 17A: In perpetuity (FOREVER AND EVER).
- 29A: Fight night highlight (MAIN EVENT).
- 38A: Fate-tempting motorcyclist (EVEL KNIEVEL).
- 41A: One in the charge of un instituteur (ÉLÈVE). French!
- 59A: Pan's place (NEVER NEVER LAND).
- 61A: Has a blast (REVELS).
- 4D: Cavaliers' home (CLEVELAND).
- 8D: Sharp (CLEVER).
- 11D: It was conquered in 1953 (MOUNT EVEREST). I wanted to include a "Sports Night" clip here, but it's not embeddable, plus I really only wanted the first minute and a half, so if you're interested you can go watch over on YouTube. It's pretty funny.
- 24D: Like tank tops (SLEEVELESS).
- 28D: Impossible to change (IRREVERSIBLE).
- 30D: Tylenol competitor (ALEVE). I think of Tylenol and Aleve as two completely different products, but that might just be because I know way more about pain relievers than a normal person should.
- 47D: Made without milk or meat (PAREVE).
- 53D: Midnight alarm giver (REVERE).
- 52D: Put out (PEEVED). I was thinking of a totally different meaning of "put out."
- 6A: Emmy-winning character actor James (COCO). I couldn't picture him in my mind and when I Googled I realized he's super familiar but I would have bet a lot of money he was someone else.
- 22A: Edible tubes (PENNE). I misread this "edible tubers." (Are there other kinds of tubers?)
- 34A: Go "pfffft" (STALL). Don't like this clue. Going "pfffft" is dying. Stalling is more like "Ba-dump, ba-dump, ba-dump, waaah-waaah-waaah, cough cough, bonk."
- 53A: Belly laugh (ROAR). Raise your hand if you wanted HO HO for this one.
- 1D: Bit of a dustup (TIFF). Perfect clue for an awesome word.
- 7D: Any song on a 78 (OLDIE). You whippersnappers don't even know what we're talking about, do you?
- 9D: It may be part of a bank (OAR). The O was the last letter I put into the grid. I knew that it had to be an O from COCO, but "bank of oars" was not making any sense to me at the time.
- 10D: Like vicuñas (ANDEAN). I must have learned this from crosswords because I just plunked it right in.
- 13D: Cartoon chipmunk (DALE). I always want this to be Alvin, Theodore, or whatever the other one's name is. Simon. PuzzleKids are very excited about "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel."
- 46D: Judge's announcement (RECESS). Does it ever happen to you that you're desperately wracking your brain for a word and then when you finally get it, it's the wrong word. Yeah. Verdict.
- 56D: "___ 'Clock Jump" (Basie hit) (ONE O). Oh sure, why not?
- Thanks for hanging with me. Rex will be back tomorrow.
- Love, PuzzleGirl